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  • Day28

    Oil oil oil

    July 26, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We have now spent two full days in Stavanger.

    We decided on the first day that we needed some exercise so we headed out of town 30 minutes to climb Mt. Dalnuten which is about a 1.5 hour return hike. From the top of the mountain which is only 400 metres one can get a spectacular view of Stavanger across a sound. We had missed the funicular in Bergen so this was to garner the same experience. We went swimming off a pier into the same sound we had been looking at to cool off when we had Finished the hike. The water was very cold and very salty. We avoided any jellyfish We got home early afternoon and chilled out until after supper when we headed downtown to the harbour where they were preparing for tall ships involved in a race to come over the weekend into the harbour.

    I think the two words that best describe Norway is oil money. Since the development of the offshore oil fields in the North Sea starting in 1969, the Norwegian economy has been on fire. Having now spent the last two weeks in Norway, I can attest to the affluence of the country. New housing, new cars, vacation properties, marinas filled with unused pleasure craft. Compared to the other Scandinavian countries Norway is expensive. Groceries and consumer items are double what they are in Edmonton. This is even more noticeable in Stavanger which is the centre of the oil industry. The number of high end watch stores in downtown Stavanger was on par with Switzerland. Being from Alberta we thought that a visit to the Norwegian oil museum was in order. I think Cheryl enjoyed it more then the military museum which is a tall order. It had tastefully done movies about how oil had changed Norwegians especially those working on the off shore rigs, interviews about the life and fears of oil workers on these rigs, movies about the divers who work on the ocean floors. There were all sorts of displays about the oil platforms and the drilling off shore. Those platforms are huge ranging from 50 to 250 metres in depth. There were also displays about the environmental effects of burning all this carbon. I think we were longer in the Oil museum then the war museum. I had an interesting talk with an attendant in the gift shop of how oil had affected Alberta which she said was similar to how it had effected Stavanger. By 2014 housing had become prohibitively expensive in Stavanger.

    When we were done we headed down to the harbour to check out the tall ships. The harbour was just packed with 3 and 4 masters. There were at least three large ships from Russia manned by Russian naval cadets. The kids were quite thrilled to be on a Russian naval vessel with real naval seamen who were conversing in Russian. There was also a tall ship from the Indian navy who had the most friendly crew. After an hour and a half wandering around in the sun we headed for home to chill out and start packing for our trip home.

    This will be my last blog of the trip. I hope you have all enjoyed following it. I have had some camera issues so I will try to post the photos later. Thank you Ross for all of your encouragement with this blog. Knowing that someone was actually reading it was a true motivator for updating it.

    Cheers Rob
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    Norma Miller

    Safe travels home, and thanks for the chronicle!

    Ray Cislo

    Thanks so much for the keen reportage. Thoroughly appreciated your efforts to share this latest adventure with us.

    Ross McLean

    That was a great trip Rob!

    2 more comments
  • Day26

    Rain rain rain

    July 24, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    It started to rain Sunday night just as we started packing our stuff up to drive to Haugesund which is located half way between Bergen and Stavanger on the west coast. We really have been blessed with marvellous weather during the trip. It has been warm and sunny the majority of the time. Unlike Vancourvites, Norwegians on the West coast of Norway actually readily volunteer that it rains a lot here. It rained off and on for much of our trip. We took a ferry for part of the trip. The rain ceased so we could hang out on deck. The ferry seemed brand new compared to the BC ferries I am use to. Loading the ferries was a model of efficiency. We were away before I could get out on deck. The ferry was also very fast. BC ferries should check out. When we got to Haugesund, Cheryl stayed at the BnB while the kids and I went to the Viking museum. The Viking museum was at a site of prehistoric and Viking settlements from 3000 BC to 1300 AD. From this site the inhabitants had been able to control north south trade and had thus been very powerful. There was a good documentary movie about the site. There was a point and click English audio tour but I sensed all was not covered. Lots of old prehistoric and Viking nicnacs. After the museum we wandered through a sheep farm to a Recreation of a Viking farm. It was getting on in the day and all the historical actors were on there cellphones counting down the last 30 minutes before going home. One of them was good enough to break away from her phone to chat with us. Many people have unanswered questions about the Vikings such as how did they navigate such large distances without compasses. They didn't need compasses, they had cellphones.

    When I planned stopping in Haugesund it was mainly to break our drive down to Stavanger. As it turned out afterwards, I had a connection to Stavanger.Back in the winter when I was showing one of my neighbours what Air BnBs I had booked for my holiday he commented that his brother happened to live in Haugesund. Now my neighbour Bjorn is from Norway so if anyone I knew had a brother there it would have been him. I got in touch with Stein and he invited our family to their summer cottage for a barbecue at his summer home on a fjord. It was 25 minutes east of Haugesund and away from the coast so it was less cloudy. The rain held off and there were some glimpses of the sun. We had a delightful meal of hot dogs. Norwegians love hot dogs but not sausages.In their grocery stores there are lots of hot dogs on the shelves, far more than Canada. I kid you not. Their cabin was on this beautiful fjord. After supper we went swimming off of rocks just by their cabin. The swimming was even more exciting as there were these white jellyfish one had to avoid. I swam across the fjord and when I got back, I had a skin irritation in my antecubital fossa. I had probably been stung by a jellyfish. Fortunately they are pretty harmless. After washing my arm off with salt water and about an hour of time the itch went away.

    We returned to Haugesund and it rained hard all night. I am sure the local were happy as there has been a drought here. We had hoped to go to some beautiful beaches today but when we woke up it was still pouring hard. My wife who has a penchant for military museums as many of you know from my previous blogs insisted on going to the military museum. As military museums go, it was excellent. Norway was occupied by the Germans in WW2. They hid there submarine bases in the fjords and built coastal defences all along Germany's west coast. When they lost the war, they left all of their weaponry in Norway. There was a lot of German armaments, submarine material, information about the resistance and life in Norway during the war. My favourite item were shoes that were made from fish skins rather then leather during WW2 and a wedding dress made by a female resistance fighter after the war from an allied parachute drop. I think Cheryl read every word of the English booklet that described 90 different displays in the museum. I was happy to get out of the museum in 2 hours.

    We drove on to Stavanger. Another ferry ride and multiple bridges and long long underground tunnels connecting islands. The Norwegians infrastructure is pretty impressive. I thought the Swiss do tunnels well but the Norwegians seem to do them better and longer.
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    Ross McLean

    Is that a German tank?


You might also know this place by the following names:

Våland, Valand